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LEGAL UPDATE: Sean Petersen, NIADA senior vice president of legal and governmental affairs, talks about recent legal issues affecting independent dealers.  One change in Nevada regulates the use of starter-interrupt and GPS devices.

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Lender Relationships Critical to Dealer Success Featured

The relationships auto finance providers develop with dealerships are critical to dealer satisfaction and to remaining competitive in the market, especially as the new-vehicle sales market tightens, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, released recently.

A combination of slowing new-vehicle sales and an uncertain used-car market is contributing to an already contested auto-lending environment. Technology has eliminated disparity of speed in financing, leaving lenders to differentiate themselves by the relationship they are able to form with the dealership.

“Speed has been king and the area lenders have traditionally focused on, but as the market gets tougher, lenders need to center their attention on their relationships with dealers, or they are going to lose business,” said Jim Houston, senior director of the automotive finance practice at J.D. Power. “Lenders need to move beyond a transactional relationship with dealers to a richer consultative partnership.”

Houston noted that in building a dealer-centric culture, lenders must understand their dealers’ businesses and goals, which helps establish them in the eyes of dealers as their business partner and problem solver. That starts with communication with the dealer. The study finds that fewer than half of dealers receive consistent sales rep calls or visits, both of which can boost overall satisfaction by as much as 68 points and 75 points, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale.  But it's more than just the frequency of the contact, it's the nature of those touch points that adds value to the relationship.

“Dealers value a lender that can help them handle the tough issues and solve those 'outside-the-box’ situations,” said Houston. “This is where having the right people focused on their dealers and helping them execute their strategic plan is essential.”  

Last modified on Monday, 15 August 2016 18:49
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